By Chris Fowler, -Chris Fowler, FMESA Vice President/Deputy State Fire Marshal III
SACRAMENTO - On Friday, December 2, 2016, I and three other CALFIRE deputy state fire marshals were assigned to standby duty for the 2016 Jingle Ball at the California State Fair and Exposition in Sacramento. It was hosted by 107.9 The End and headlined by such popular artists like the Chainsmokers and DJ Dillion Francis.
The Jingle Ball, sold out well before the date arrives, is remarkably well attended. With approximately 8,490 tickets issued for the event and five different musical performances, the Cal Expo Livestock Pavilion is transformed into a laser light dance party; complete with VIP cabanas and various vendors, there is entertainment for everyone.
“These events can be extraordinary,” said CSLEA/FMESA Member Shane Norris, a CALFIRE deputy state fire marshal. “The public should have the opportunity to attend these events without concern for their safety.”
At one point event goers experienced the unexpected, a massive power loss that lasted for about 15 minutes. The crowd was cooperative and patient while systems were restored.
The fire marshals provide standby at large assembly events such as concerts, festivals, raves, and political rallies on state property. As peace officers, they are an essential component of the operational plan. CAL FIRE Office of the State Fire Marshal works cooperatively with police, local fire, security personnel and emergency medical providers to ensure public safety.
“Deputy state fire marshals are on scene long before the event occurs, attending planning meetings with promoters, hosts and facilities staff,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “They conduct the review of permit applications, proposed entertainment, and event layouts to ensure compliance with life safety systems.”
The coordination of an event of this magnitude can present unique challenges. The artists, performers, and state facility all have specific priorities. Ultimately, it is the duty of the deputy state fire marshals’ to ensure life safety requirements are satisfied before all others. Our community deserves no less.